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Independent! Are We, Really?

Just like every year, once again, the 15th of August known to be the Independence Day of India has arrived. What history it tells when it comes to our independence is one that is not new to any of us. Almost every kid of this nation is aware of the struggle for freedom, the repercussions of it, that our ancestors faced in the last century.

Since we are in the technological era, everyone, in order to show their self-proclaimed patriotism, commented and posted on their respective accounts about the day, and social networking sites were soon flooded with posts yelling “HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY”, but a question that arises in the midst of all this is, are we really independent? If your answer is yes, then I would further like to ask, to what extent are you politically independent in this nation?

Keeping in mind the ongoing circumstances, personally, I didn’t feel like celebrating yesterday, simply because I perceive that even though it’s been 73 long years since we got our independence yet we are all still tamed in some way or the other. I don’t feel independent as a girl because I don’t feel safe enough to roam on the streets of my city alone on a dark night.

 

73 years on, are we independent?

 

I don’t feel independent as a Muslim because I might at any time be accused of being a terrorist on the basis of trumped-up, false charges or I may get lynched for storing cow meat in my fridge although, when it would actually be mutton or something else (but not cow meat) at the end but that’s too late then.

I don’t feel independent as a student because I might become a victim of a lathi charge and other police brutalities simply because I dared to speak up against the government of this nation based on my studies and conscientious knowledge gathered by studying in universities of this very realm.

I don’t feel independent as a citizen of this Indian state because basic fundamental rights as prescribed by the Indian Constitution are a joke now. Patriotism is not confined to just posting “HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY” on your social media, rather it is something far beyond that. Apart from our 19th and 20th-century freedom fighters, we have many unarmed, unsung freedom fighters today as well. Almost all of us showed our particular custom patriotism by posting on social media and wishing everyone in general, but how many of us dared to wish “HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY” to the respective families of Akhil Gogoi, Sharjeel Imam, Sharjeel Uthmani, Dr. Kafeel, Dewangna Kalita, Natasha Narwal, Tahir Madini, Asif Tanha, Shifa – Ur – Rehman, Khalid Saifi, and all those who are in judicial custody only because they strived hard and suffered, all to protect the soul of the Indian Constitution?

Did anyone of us dare to wish independence day greetings to Safoora Zargar, a girl who faced the worst character assassination imaginable, just a few months back, or dared to wish the same to her husband who had to endeavor so hard to protect his loving wife and his innocent unborn baby (who was being accused of being illegal) that too amidst facing all that crap regarding questions on his wife’s modesty and purity?

Did anyone of us dare to wish Independence day greetings to families of all those daily wage labourers who lost their lives while returning to their native homelands during the nationwide lockdown? A lockdown that was not executed in a smooth manner, unlike many other independent countries because of the high incompetence of the Indian government.

Did anyone of us dare to ask a Bihar or Assam flood victim about how he and his family celebrated this Independence Day? Or did any of you even think of wishing the same to the families of those soldiers who lost their lives recently at the Ladakh border?
Some of us are not free to speak as our tongues have been chained, someone else is not free to practice his religion freely because he is haunted each day by the consequences he might face.

How many of us including non – Muslims are independent enough to be able to eat eating non – veg whenever, wherever, and in whatever form they wish for? Being a woman in this patriarchal society, how many of us are independent enough to make decisions regarding any aspect on our own?

It’s a true fact that 73 years ago on this very day, we got independence from the Britishers, but it is also an undeniable fact that the most significant and effective policy of the Britishers i.e., “Divide and Rule” is still active in India.

How many of us can dare to utter even the word ”independence” in front of a Kashmiri? Kashmir, where locals have been under the worst lockdown of its kind for years now, in this democratic, 73-year-old “independent” country like India?

Where the hell is independence then?

Just assess for your own self as to how you celebrated this independence day because do you really feel independent in this suffocating atmosphere or are you just moving with the flow?

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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